Last month, North Korean President Kim Jong Il announced that his country possessed nuclear weapons. I repeat: North Korea has nuclear weapons. The grave threat of North Korea is now clearer than ever before, and President Bush’s decision to largely disregard it has put America in a position that is frighteningly worrisome.
North Korea, unlike many other rogue nations, has been open about its nuclear development. In the past several years, North Korean nuclear programs have moved at different paces, sometimes slow as a result of international pressure and sometimes at an accelerated speed as a result of weak international resistance.
What remains dangerously clear is that North Korea has had the upper hand on the United States, and the entire world. In his 2003 State of the Union address Bush said, “America and the world will not be blackmailed.” According to the BBC, on Feb. 6, 2003 North Korea declared that any American effort to build a military presence in the general area of the country would result in a North Korean pre-emptive attack on American soil.
Realizing the major mistake in foreign policy, Bush has purposely ignored the issue. It is no coincidence that he only mentioned North Korea briefly in his 2005 State of the Union address. The nation was acknowledged only as such: “We are working closely with governments in Asia to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.” That was on Feb. 2. Nine days later North Korea announced its nuclear programs were strong and functional, to the point of developing arms.
Now, in a most urgent time when North Korea poses the biggest threat to the world, Kim Jong Il’s administration, while recently agreeing to start negotiations when conditions are ripe, is still not cooperating to the extent that it needs to with Japan, South Korea, Russia, China and the United States. These countries are all urging discussion and negotiation, and finally Kim Jong Il appears to be giving in to pressure. But there is one big step the United States needs to take in order to assure the threat of North Korea is diffused.
America’s relationship with the United Nations, European countries and many other nations must be mended. It needs to become the respected member of the international community it once was, not for its own benefit, but for the world’s. With our resources spread thin, we need to rely on other countries to assist in fighting North Korea’s growing nuclear presence.
This cannot be a unilateral effort. The United States against North Korea will not work. Russia, China, South Korea, Japan and the United States, in addition to key European Union nations, need to unite against North Korea. Kim Jong Il needs to be notified very quickly that a strong coalition is in opposition to his tyranny and these key countries must unite before this danger grows even larger.
Bush is undoubtedly one of the most internationally aggressive presidents of recent history, and he says justice, liberty and freedom are on his mind.
But akin to how he ignored threats from al-Qaeda early in his first term for seemingly more important items on his agenda, he ignored the North Korean threat – which was proven to be a mistake last month – for what he says was and is a more pertinent war with Iraq.
He apparently thinks Iraq is no longer a threat. That brings up the question of whether or not the effort put into Iraq was worth it in the end.
Bush would like to say so; he argued Iraq was the biggest threat to American security then and, in hindsight, said he would not change any of his foreign policy decisions.
It’s clear, however, that the Pyongyang announcement last month has changed the entire structure of his foreign policy decisions. It reaffirms the notion that North Korea has always been the biggest threat among the orginial countries mentioned in the “axis of evil” and concretely proves that Bush’s foreign policy priorities are entirely misguided.
At this point the Bush administration, as leaders of the world’s superpower, must humble itself, admit fault in mostly ignoring North Korea and unite with a strong coalition to take down the threat of Kim Jong Il. Otherwise, the world will be in a dangerous position.
Jonathan Rashid can be reached at iJonny@Gmail.com.